Prayer Challenge

I want to ask you to say this prayer out loud, if possible.

“I belong to God. I am a holy vessel because I have the Holy Spirit of the Living God. The Lord of Heaven and earth has said to me; “I declare you holy!”. I commit to start believing what He says. I AM HOLY! Remind me daily, Spirit of the Living God, to treat myself as holy, open my eyes to every scheme of The Enemy to treat me as if I'm not. You, God, are Holy. Your word is the truth. This day Father, I chose to believe you! I ask this in the mighty name of your son Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for me so that I could be a coheir to the kingdom of God. Amen”

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Take Joy in the Power and Protection of God and Jesus Christ

Psalm 5:11
But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.               
  • Be glad when I take refuge in the Lord
  • Sing for joy that God is there for me
  • Keep a bubble of your protection over me
  • I love the name of God and rejoice in the relationship
Ephesians 3:20-21 
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.          
  • God can do more than I ever think to ask or imagine. He is infinite and I am not.
  • His power that is at work within me
  • I will glorify God in the church and in Christ Jesus for all generations - forever and ever 
Jude 24-25
24 To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— 25 to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.                                                                                  
  • Jesus is my salvation forever and will present me before God without fault
  • Jesus will take great joy in my presence before him.
  • Thank-you Jesus for keeping me from stumbling.
Joshua 1:5
5 No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.       
  • God will not be separated from me.
  • What God did for Moses and Joshua, he will do for me. 

Sunday, June 25, 2017

A Green Olive Tree in God's House - Psalm 52:8

David  was trusting God to keep his covenant loyalty to him because God keeps his word. He is faithful. 

"A green olive tree"; which is a very choice and fruitful tree has:

  • fatness in it
  • produces an excellent oil
  • is beautiful to look at
  • delights in hot climates and sunny places
  • is found on mountains
  • we read of the Mount of Olives in the Bible
  • is ever green and durable
  • its leaves and branches are symbols of peace
All of the above characteristics are also applicable to truly righteous persons and believers in Christ who are:

  •  the excellent of the earth
  • are filled with the fruits of righteousness
  • are fat and flourishing
  • have the oil of grace - the anointing which teaches all things
  • are a perfection of beauty - made perfectly comely through Christ's comeliness
  • thrive under him - the sun of righteousness
  • grow in the mountain of the Lord's house - the church
  • their grace is incorruptible
  • their leaf withers not
  • they are rooted in Christ and ever continue
  • they are the sons and daughters of peace
  • their last end will be eternal peace.  

                                                                                                                                           adapted from  Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A green tree is the emblem of prosperity.
I am safe and happy...I have been kept unharmed, like a green and flourishing tree...protected in the very courts of the sanctuary - safe under the care and the eye of God. A green tree is the emblem of prosperity.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     adapted from Barnes Notes
Those who by faith and love dwell in the house of God, shall be like green olive-trees there. And that we may be as green olive-trees, we must live a life of faith and holy confidence in God and his grace.                                                                                                                                                                                              Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary

Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit of God - Ephesians 4:30

What Grieves The Holy Spirit?
  • Anger in all its forms. 
Nothing is more suited to drive away all serious and tender impressions from the mind, than the indulgence of anger.
  • Lustful thoughts and desires. 
The Spirit of God is pure, and he dwells not in a soul that is filled with corrupt imaginings.
  • Ingratitude 
"We" feel ingratitude more than almost anything else; and why should we suppose that the Holy Spirit would not feel it also?
  • Neglect 
The Spirit of God is grieved by neglect. Often he prompts us to pray; he disposes the mind to seriousness, to the reading of the Bible, to tenderness and penitence. We neglect those favored moments of our faith, and lose those happy seasons for becoming like God.
  • Resistance
Christians often resist the Holy Spirit. He would lead them to be dead to the world; yet they drive on their plans of gain. He would teach them the folly of fashion and vanity; yet they deck themselves in the most impractical apparel. He would keep them from the splendid party, the theater, and the ballroom; yet they go there.

All that is needful for a Christian to do in order to be faithful, is to yield to the gentle influences which would draw him to prayer and to heaven.
adapted from Barnes Notes on the Bible

Cross Reference Verses for Ephesians 4:30
Ephesians 1:13
And in Him you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, having heard and believed the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.

1 Thessalonians 5:19
Do not extinguish the Spirit.

Psalm 78:40
How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness And grieved Him in the desert!

Isaiah 63:10
But they rebelled And grieved His Holy Spirit; Therefore He turned Himself to become their enemy, He fought against them.

John 3:33
Whoever accepts His testimony has certified that God is truthful.

Hebrews 10:29
How much more severely do you think one deserves to be punished who has trampled on the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and insulted the Spirit of grace?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Psalm of the Week - 146:3 - June 19, 2017

There is a Son of man ...who is also the Son of God, who will not fail those that trust in him.                                                                                            Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary
Rely on God rather than on man, however rich, wealthy, or high in society that he may be. There is a work of protection and salvation which no man, however eminent and elevated he may be, can perform for you; a work which God alone, who is the Maker of all things, and who never dies, can accomplish.                                                                                       adapted from Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Learning I am NOT the Boss in Sobriety - Romans 9:20 - June 19, 2017

After I stopped drinking, I  found out that I thought I was the boss of life around me. 
Here are some examples to illustrate this way of thinking:
  • Everywhere I went, I would change the toilet paper roll to come off of the top.
  • I had an opinion about everything I saw around me AND voiced my opinion about it.
  • Church people were hypocrites and I wanted nothing to do with them.
  • Other women were my enemies. I didn't like them. 
  • My boyfriend, or partner needed to discuss everything with me, or I was MAD that I was left out of the decision making.
  • I believed in Jesus, but I only wanted to pray when I was in trouble. Then I wanted to bargain with God rather than submit to God. 
My way of thinking brought me crashing down to my knees and submitting to God, but it took a life threatening situation to do it. 

During the first 6 months of my sobriety, I had to face some harsh truths about myself. 
Many of the faults that I had blamed on alcohol - wasn't the alcohol - it was me. My perception of who I was as a person was fractured and broken like a dropped mirror. Tears streamed down my face easily when I was alone. My best friend had died and I was my best friend. 

My understanding of my role in life slowly, but surely underwent several revisions. 
The first revision was that I dusted off my Bible and admitted my life was unmanageable and I was powerless over alcohol. Additionally, my mom made sure I was turning to Jesus and I rededicated my life to him. 
Let's Go to Church
Although I was reading my bible and turning to Jesus, I didn't return to church until I had about 18 months of sobriety. This revision happened after I was told,"What better place for hypocrites to be than in church? Maybe they will finally see the light."
Sisterhood is Good
At 3 years of sobriety, I found myself wanting to rejoin the sisterhood of women because of all the help I was receiving FROM a couple of ladies with long term sobriety. Those ladies had something I wanted; they both knew how to stay sober, how to stay promiscuity-free, and how to apply biblical principles to 12 step recovery.  Yes, my sisters were no longer my enemies.
My Way isn't the Only Way
Somewhere around the 3rd-4th year of recovery, in a conversation with my husband, I found myself saying," ...After all, my way isn't the only way." 

My husband stared at me like I had suddenly developed an extra head atop my shoulders before saying,"I had hoped this day would arrive, but I had about given up on it!"

Pow! understanding smacked me in the face as I thought about what I had just said. Silently, I congratulated myself on getting better. 

Why Did You Do This?
When I reached 14 years of sobriety, I was still struggling with God over why I was me. One night I looked at the ceiling and cried,"Why did you make me this way? I am MAD at you!" At that time, silence was the only response I received to my angry question. 

God's Answer
Two weeks later, God answered me during my morning prayer and meditation time. One word kept popping into the stillness of my brain, "Clay." 

"What? Clay? Really Lord?" Never in a million years would I tell myself to read about clay in my bible. 

However, I obediently turned to the index of my study bible and looked up the word, clay. Carefully, I began to read the first verse and write down my thoughts about it. Five bible verses later, I was reading and writing down my thoughts about Romans 9:21. As I read the scripture, I found my eyes drawn to the previous verse, 9:20. 

As I read verse 9:20, the words seemed to float up off the page and POW! from my innermost being  outward, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes, I KNEW I was being spiritually spanked for my angry diatribe at God  two weeks earlier. 
But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?
How arrogant I had been. Yelling at God? Really? 
With a sigh, I started writing about why I was resentful (angry)at God, the cause of the anger, and how it affected me. The cause of the anger was control. Once again, my way of thinking brought me crashing down to my knees and re-submitting my life to God. By re-submitting all control of my entire life to God, I was making a decision to turn my will and my life over to God, again. Consequently while I was on my knees, an apology to the Creator of All issued from my lips. 

In conclusion
At 14 years sober, I realized that God was giving me the knowledge of his will for me because I was seeking Him through daily prayer and meditation. He was molding me, one day at a time, and I had to be willing to submit to his molding in order to grow spiritually and continue growing closer to God, through Jesus. 

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Reaching for Sobriety with My Dad

For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves:
 it is the gift of God:
Ephesians 2:8

Growing up with my dad had its good moments, bad moments, and awful, gut wrenching moments.

One of the best moments that I remember is my dad playing "Airplane" with my siblings and I. "Airplane" is a version of "Follow the Leader." The difference is that you stretch your arms out like wings and make motor noises with your mouth as you run after the lead airplane. 

I fondly remember my dad during holiday gift giving, Thanksgiving dinners with a golden brown turkey on the table, visiting my great grandparents and grandparents, riding in the back of the old '49 Dodge pickup truck in the summer, hunting deer with dad, and fishing - lots of fishing!

Most of the great memories are from the years before I turned 10
After that, Dad's drinking took over and he changed into an angry man who took his anger out on my mom. Dad was physically and emotionally abusive. No one should see their mom bleeding and bruised in the aftermath of a verbal and physical assault.  

My teen years were chaotic.
I started speaking my teenage opinion to my dad; it didn't go over well. My brother was the focus of some unpleasant attention too. Both of us found out what it was like to be pinned against a wall by the neck and lifted off the floor. I was 16 when this happened and my brother was 15.

However, my dad changed in 1977. 
One afternoon he came home to find a deputy sheriff waiting for him. Dad was served with papers saying he couldn't stay at the house for 30 days. This situation changed my dad, but I wasn't there to see it. 

I left home at 17 and went into the United States Navy. 
You know what happened when I left home? I started drinking like my dad. I repeated the cycle of alcoholism even though I had sworn that my drinking wouldn't be like my Dad's drinking. My awareness of Dad's recovery was mainly from a few quick trips home because my parents asked me not to bring alcohol into the house, or drink while I was at the house. 

Now I am going to fast forward to 1984. 
In 1984, I was discharged from the Navy and went home to Missouri. I proceeded to meet a nice fellow at the bar I worked at and we ended up together. By 1992, we had 2 little girls and I was drowning myself with alcohol every day. At this point, my dad had been sober for eight years. He and mom went to 12 step recovery meetings. Dad went to a meeting for alcoholics and mom went to a meeting for the friends and family of alcoholics. 

Just like my dad, I had a life changing moment myself. 
My moment came when my partner aimed a .22 rifle at me during my attempt to stop him from shooting our family pet, a little black dog named Scooter. Did you know that a .22 rifle barrel looks as big as a cannon when you are looking into it? Additionally, time seemed to slow down as I looked over his shoulder and saw our two beautiful little girls standing side by side and screaming at him to not hurt Momma. As I looked back at him and the rifle barrel, I was conscious of one thought ricocheting in my head,"Oh my god, I am going to be shot."I wasn't. 

In fact, I managed to get myself, the dog, and the two children into the car and leave. You know where I went don't you? Yep, I drove to Mom and Dad's house. My dad answered the door and looked at us for one long moment - I was bedraggled and muddy as I huddled with my pale and silent daughters and their little black dog. 

The next day I followed my dad into sobriety and wiped the dust off of my Bible. 
During the following day, I read the Bible.  A HUGE weight lifted off of my shoulders and I felt like I was walking 2 feet above the floor. That evening, my mom's friend took me to my first recovery meeting. 

Those early weeks were tough, but Jesus kept showing me the path I needed to take. 
I was hired for the first job I applied for, day shift at a nursing home. Two weeks later, I found an apartment and the landlord agreed to let me pay the rent in two monthly payments. Every time a financial situation arose, I let Jesus handle it and everything just fell into place. God, through Jesus, took care of my every need as I continued to learn how to live sober.

My dad and mom were always available to answer my questions about sobriety. 
Both helped me many times. At meetings, it was tough to hear my dad talk about life before sobriety. I lived through those times, too. However, I needed to confront the situations as an adult and leave behind the little girl memories. My dad apologized to me and I apologized to him. We healed together one day at a time. 

This year I celebrated 25 years of sobriety and my dad celebrates 33 years in July. What we found, faith in God through Jesus, works! 

Thursday, June 15, 2017

25 Years Alcohol and Drug Free - My Sobriety Birthday

Today I have been clean and sober for a quarter of a century, or twenty-five years. My first day of a changed life occurred on June 15, 1992. 

On that day, I had come to believe and accepted three things about my life:
  • Step 1 The Personal Version
I admitted I was powerless over alcohol and drugs-that my life had become unmanageable
  • Step 2 The Personal Version
I came to believe that a Power greater than myself (God) could restore me to sanity.
  • Step 3 The Personal Version
I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood Him. 

In short, I had hit my rock bottom and knew that I needed help to learn how to live differently.

Psalm 130:5
I wait for the LORD, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.

2 Corinthians 4:18
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Isaiah 6:3
And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.

I can't, He can, and I think I'll let Him one day at a time! 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

An Answered Prayer and Spiritual Conviction

How Do You Use the Holy Spirit?
For several weeks, I have been trying to figure out how to use the Holy Spirit inside of me and let it overflow from me onto others through prayer and conversation. 

Don't laugh, sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees.

Last night I spoke with Bill about my mental wrestling match with this issue because I want to be an effective witness for Jesus. 

Bill and I discussed several Bible verses, but I still felt like I was missing something. Finally, I turned to Jesus in prayer and quit trying to wrestle some understanding from everything I had read, listened to, and talked about.
My prayer was pretty basic; I asked for understanding of the issue I was struggling with. 

Today, my Aunt Nancy posted her daily reading from Jesus Calling.
As I read through the passage, tears began to form in my eyes as I became aware that I was being spiritually convicted. 
For me, spiritual conviction feels like the words seemed to rise from the page and sink into the core of my being.  I started crying tears of joy as I thanked Jesus for listening to my prayer request the preceding evening and providing an answer through my aunt's post.

Answered Prayer
Next, I tearfully told Bill that my tears were joyful ones because I had been given a direct answer to my prayer. Bill listened as I read the words of the post to him. He agreed that I had been given a definite answer to my prayer. 

The Holy Spirit doesn't need any help from me. 
All I have to do is to be still and let Jesus work through me while not taking credit for it in ANY way. My part is to continue to live close to Jesus and be open and willing to the change going on inside me. I am NOT to control the streaming of the Holy Spirit. I AM supposed to keep my focus on Jesus. Pretty simple isn't it? 

I snipped the post and it is now on my computer background. My plan is to read and reread the post as I live close to Jesus and stay focused on him as I walk through today. 

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Psalm of the Week -146:1-2 - June 12, 2017

Verse of the Week - Colossians 3:17 - June 12, 2017

Faith in Jesus is how my Christian life began and continues to grow.
By doing all things in the name of Jesus, I am expressing my continuing trust in and love for Jesus. Jesus loves me and I need to thank God for sending Jesus as a man to reunite mankind with God and restore peace between God and his children. 
I am a child of God. 
God loves me and is at peace with me because Jesus himself sits at the right hand of God and intervenes for me. 
I am a beloved child of God and I have submitted myself to God. 
Jesus is Lord of my life. Everything I do, I do for him. 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Faith Is - A Scripture Poem

Faith Is
Fully accepting Jesus Christ as my lord and savior   John 14:6
Accepting that the Bible is the divine word of God  1Thessalonians 2:13
Inspired and and filled with the Holy Spirit               John 14:26
Totally accepting the truths written in the Bible        Psalm 119:160
Holy God is the director of my life, Jesus is my savior, the Holy Spirit is my divine counselor 1 John 5

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Jesus is Love

Unconditional love,
impressed upon my heart.
Jesus is gone from earthly life,
yet his love is always with me,
in me,
and around me.
Copyright 2017 Sallee Bonham

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Verse of the Week - John 15:12 - June 5, 2017

Jesus stressed this commandment to the disciples; it is the new commandment of the New Testament. 
Loving others the way Jesus loved the disciples is tough. However, we do have the Holy Spirit, God, and Jesus to help us through the times when it is tough to love a fellow Christian, or unbeliever. 
I choose to use the 1990's slogan, What Would Jesus Do?, to help me follow Jesus' commandment to love one another as he loved us.

Psalm of the Week - 25:10 - June 5, 2017

Mercy and truth will meet together in the case of those who, however they may have sinned, meekly submit themselves to God's guidance, and from then on keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Pulpit Commentary

Walk the walk to find mercy and truth from God as He walks down the paths of his infinite purpose. SalleeB